Most people would admit if they are playing a sport they would much rather play offense than defense. It is just more fun to score points than to keep someone else from scoring points. But in life our tendenacy is to do everything defensively. When a discussion is about to turn into an argument we get defensive. When we recieve constructive criticism we get defensive and take it personally. I know lots of people that live their lives in defensive mode as opposed to offensive mode. I know lots of Christians this way. And I think Christians are this way because they read God’s Word this way.
Let me give you an example. I am reading through Jeremiah and this week I got to Jeremiah 42. A brief summary is that Babylon has come in destroyed Judah and carried off lots of people into slavery. They left in Judah some people to live and work the land. Those people go to Jeremiah and ask him to pray to God for them. Jeremiah does and returns to them and says, do not go to Egypt. Do not seek refuge there.
Now in a brief reading it may appear the point is, don’t go to Egpyt. But that is looking at God’s Word and reading it defensively. What if the point is that God wants the people to rely on Him. God is all they will ever need, so they should put their faith and trust in Him. But what we get is don’t go to Egpyt.
We read God’s Word as if it is just a, “do not,” book. When we read it that way then our view of God is jaded to think that God is just up there telling us what we can and can not do.
Now I would hope that Christians would say, they believe God wants what is best for them. They would also I hope say that God wants them to experience the most joy in life. But if we read Scripture defensively, only looking at the “do not’s,” there is no joy in that. And in turn if we read it that way then we really do not believe God wants us to experience the most joy, even if we say it.
How do you read it? Are you playing offense or defense.